Celebrating Orphan Films: Bringing the Obscure to Light


We are very fortunate to live in a city that is home to some of the finest film preservation and screening organizations in the country. This month, two of these local film institutions, the UCLA Film & Television Archive and Los Angeles Filmforum, in cooperation with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, present a program called Celebrating Orphan Films, an eclectic mix of screenings and discussions at the Billy Wilder Theater.

What’s an “orphan film” you ask? According to the Department of Cinema Studies at NYU, “the term refers to all manner of films outside of the commercial mainstream…”, such as public domain materials, home movies, outtakes, unreleased films, censored material, underground works, experimental pieces, silent-era productions, and stock footage, just to name a few.

Given that expansive definition, its no wonder the word “eclectic” so aptly describes the Celebrating Orphan Films program. Just check out this brief selection of films to be screened this weekend and you’ll see what I mean:

  • Heidi Rae Cooley (University of South Carolina) presents The Augustas (ca. 1930s-’50s), a remarkable compilation from Augusta, Georgia by amateur filmmaker and traveling salesman Scott Nixon.
  • A screening of the 1960s-era UCLA student film Patient 411. Director Ronald Raley will introduce and discuss the film’s cinematography by famous UCLA film major, Jim Morrison of the Doors.
  • Ron and Chuck in Disneyland Discovery (1969), a queer courtship narrative covertly filmed in Disneyland, guerilla-style, by pioneer filmmaker Pat Rocco. From the Outfest Legacy Collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive.
  • The Unshod Maiden (1932), a butchered reduction of Lois Weber’s Shoes (1916), presented by Shelley Stamp (UC Santa Cruz).
  • Color (1958) by Lidia García Millán, the first color experimental film made in Uruguay.

Unless you’re an archivist, film scholar or film exhibition curator, you don’t get the opportunity to see this sort of material, which is what makes this event so special and worth adding to your weekend plans. So come on out, see some or all of the 40+ seldom-seen films, meet Dan Streible in person, founder of the Orphan Film Symposium, and learn from 25 other film experts.
 And if that isn’t enough to convince you to attend, event passes are very reasonably priced. See below for more details.

Watch some clips from Celebrating Orphan Films:


When: Friday May 13, 7:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
 and Saturday May 14, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Where: UCLA Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater, lcoated at 
10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

Directions, Map and Parking Information  

Tickets: Event Passes are available online for only $10. One pass admits you to ALL “Celebrating Orphan Films” events throughout the weekend.

More Information:
Celebrating Orphan Films Program